Marvin Demchick, Communal Titan, Dies at 88

Marvin Demchick, a giant in Philadelphia Jewish communal leadership and a major regional financial figure whose positions included serving as chair of Radnor Trust, died April 13. He was 88.

Mr. Demchick's many leadership positions were recognized innumerable times over the years: In 1985, he was honored with the Community Award of the then Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia, an organization he served at that time and in subsequent years in many official capacities.


His activities also included involvement on the national federation scene, with the precursor of United Jewish Communities.

But his biography of involvement goes back to the 1960s, when his role in communal leadership spanned interests and concerns: He served such groups and organizations as Ben-Gurion University, State of Israel Bonds, the Jewish National Fund, the Albert Einstein Medical Center, and the former Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia, as well as the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life.

His humanitarian work extended to the Academy in Manayunk, a center for learning-disabled children for which he was the first board chairman and chairman emeritus.

In the business world, the University of Pennsylvania graduate was hailed and respected for his role as an investor and adviser. He was a longtime executive with Radnor Trust, an area wealth management company that closed last year.

He had always been concerned with the less fortunate in the Jewish community, once stressing that "if we don't take care of our Jewish elderly and our Jewish children, then we will be responsible for the destruction of our Jewish culture."

Indeed, those sentiments were echoed in the praise given the late communal titan by Ira M. Schwartz, CEO of the Federation.

"He was one of those model Jewish citizens in Philadelphia" whose like they just don't make anymore, Schwartz said of a force of nature he also described as "a statesman."

"He was a tremendous visionary" who, even before the advent of the 2009 Greater Philadelphia Jewish Population Study, gave its imprimatur to his concerns, he stressed "the need to invest in families with young children," to assure a Jewish future and to work with and assist the less fortunate in the community, Schwartz said.

His communal involvement also include Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, where he had served as a board vice chair and was still a board member when he died.

He is survived by his wife, the former Mildred Weiss; three daughters, Shelli Glass, Phyllis Wagner and Wendy Demchick-Alloy; a brother, Robert; and five grandchildren.



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